SELEBI-PHIKWE: Farmers in Zone 9 at Maretele cattleposts near Mogapinyana and Kgagodi villages have been shocked by the mysterious death of their cattle.
A farmer who lost 15 of his herd in January Kobamelo Rantsudu said so far close to 50 cattle have died. He said the most surprising thing is that the affected cattle do not show any signs or symptoms of any illness but they just die in a fresh state. He added that the cattle are released from the kraals to graze only to be found dead and scattered in the bushes.
“We informed the veterinary officials who drew blood samples from the dead cattle but informed us that they found nothing.
‘We are now wondering how possible it is for the post-mortem to fail to identify the cause of the deaths,” he said.
Rantsudu added that they were also advised to call veterinary officers immediately after another cow died so that they can conduct more tests but they still found nothing.
He however said that they (farmers) are even suspecting the water from the borehole that the cattle drink from. He said all the affected cattle have been drinking from the same spot and they die not far away from each other. He noted that the water from the said boreholes has turned bad. He added that farmers were initially advised to vaccinate for anthrax but the disease was initially ruled out and pasteurela was suspected.
“Officials are expected to come again for anthrax vaccination yet we have already vaccinated our cattle. “We just do not know what to suspect because it is the first experience in our area,” he added. He appealed to government to assist them urgently as they continue to lose cattle and that they expect veterinary officials to inform them what could be the cause and preventative measures because all necessary tests have been conducted including vaccinations. Principal veterinary officer in Palapye Neverson Sithole confirmed the deaths of the cattle in the Maretele cattlepost, but could not confirm the number of mortalities because cattle were still continuing to die.
He said they visited the area a fortnight ago and they have taken the samples to their laboratory in Gaborone and are waiting for the results.